In 2013, the Montclair State women’s soccer team put together one of those special seasons in program history. The Red Hawks went undefeated in the regular season, posted a 20-1-1 record, won the New Jersey Athletic Conference regular season and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time.
While a repeat of the first accomplishment is highly unlikely, a run toward a third straight NCAA Tournament appearance won’t be easy as the 2014 schedule is loaded for MSU.
It starts right away with the season opener in Seahawk Invitational at St. Mary’s College of Maryland where Montclair will face Johns Hopkins on Friday, August 29. The Blue Jays have been one of the top programs in Division III in recent years including six consecutive NCAA Sweet 16 appearances while being ranked in the NSCAA Division III Poll for 56 straight weeks. Montclair faces host team St. Mary’s College the following day.
Montclair’s home opener will be on Wednesday, September 3 against Brooklyn College at MSU Soccer Park where the Red Hawks have won 27 of its last 34 games (27-2-5). MSU heads to Stevens on September 12 and also hosts FDU-Florham on September 17. Last season, Montclair State edged past the Devils, 1-0 in Madison.
MSU, which went a perfect 9-0 in the NJAC last season and advanced to the conference title match, begins its league slate on Saturday, September 20 at New Jersey City before closing out the first month of the season on September 27 at home against Richard Stockton, who fell to MSU in last year’s NJAC Tournament semifinals.
While the start of September is expected to be challenging for Montclair State, the beginning of October looks to be equally difficult. MSU begins the month at home against local rival William Paterson on the 1st before traveling to Ewing, NJ to face defending NJAC champion The College of New Jersey on October 4. The Lions ended Montclair’s reign as conference champion last season claiming the league title in penalty kicks. The Red Hawks’ schedule continues with a strong non-conference game at home versus Vassar on October 8 before another key road game at Rowan on October 11 in Glassboro, a place Montclair has not won at since 2004.
The schedule goes on with four of the final five regular-season games taking place in the NJAC. Montclair hosts Kean on October 15 before back-to-back road games at Ramapo and Rutgers-Camden on October 18 and October 22, respectively. The Red Hawks close out the season with consecutive home games taking on Swarthmore on October 25 and finishing up with Rutgers-Newark on October 29.
The NJAC Tournament begins on Saturday, November 1 with first-round action as the top two teams receive byes into the semifinals, which are set for Wednesday, November 5. The championship game is scheduled for Friday, November 7 with the winner claiming the NJAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championship